The Twitter and TV love affair

    12:13 PM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CNN) -- Social media giant Twitter is looking at how to make a buck on the back of TV advertisers.

    From the tense final season of ACM's Breaking Bad, to the heart-pounding suspense of Showtime's Homeland, people glued to the programming on the TV screen are now turning to their phone screen to tweet about the action live. It could help put Twitter on the path to profitability, a key point for investors. Forrester researcher Nate Elliott says, "Twitter has sort of stumbled on this position as the place people go to have conversations about the things that they are watching on tv, that in theory could be a big opportunity for Twitter."

    During an interview with "All Things D", Twitter CEO Dick Costolo acknowledged the phenomenon saying, "Over the past few years we've recognized that twitter has become the second screen for TV and TV is more fun with Twitter."

    For big events like the academy awards, live tweeting can be off the charts. Almost nine million tweets were sent during Oscars this year. And during the last Super Bowl, more than 230,000 tweets were sent per minute.

    A new study says 55 percent of Americans watching TV now do so with a second screen up and running at least sometimes. Dick Costolo says this can be a win-win for Twitter and for TV, "In a world where broadcasters, I think have thought of technology companies as competitors, we consider ourselves complementary to what those folks are doing."

    Indeed, a recent issue of Forbes talks about "How Twitter Will Save TV and How TV Will Save Twitter". But to do so, both mediums- must get creative.

    Twitter can't just plaster lots of banner ads on its screen like Facebook and other sites do, so they have to find other ways to make money and they can do that by putting promoted tweets into the stream of content people see.

    If Twitter can find a way to make money from even a fraction of these tweets, it might easily reach the goal that it set in its IPO Roadshow: a 40 percent profit margin. Higher even, than Google's.

    Twitter is far from that goal right now. But every little live tweet helps. As the second screen gains in popularity, Twitter is hoping to turn 140 characters into cold hard cash.

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